that thirteen out of one hundred possibility was supported by luck and fate and a thousand other instabilities and a thousand other improbabilities, but i am here. i might have died, also, as i did or did not cross the street this morning. but i will still be here even if i too leave, i will still be here with my sinfulness and my inability to pray without sighing. i will be here with all my gory gory cynicism. when the seventh star east of nod flashes the signal, i will remember the cardinals and the ordinals and i will stand up, salute stiffly, but i will not join the army as is expected. i will stay with you and pray with you and play with you, every day with you. i will stay here, i will stay here in all my glory glory shame. and if the sky deposits it’s putrid waste upon my sinewy left elbow then i will sneer at it and say, ‘i will not go.’ i will not go. i am not ashamed because i am with you. if the other gangly sharp-kneed boys from down the street who laugh - if they had you, they too would stay, read to you the first story story love. but when the first train leaves and the last train huffs back on an iron railroad, lugging death and banners and sweat and blood and tears and laughter and seventeen and one eighth decks of cards, and memories and creaking guns and jaded neighbors, then they will sing to their own mommas, sing loud about victory victor,he died. i am a child of one and father of none, and i hope to become something far greater than dead, despite the cascade of x’s that cover eyes around. ‘the plague, the war, the cough, the cold. the girls, the men, the young, the old.’ a solitary headstone to mark us all, an epitaph that works for every fall. that thirteen out of one hundred possibility was supported by luck and fate and a thousand other truths - i will not die? i will stay here. i will stay with you. i will not die. i will not go. i might have died as i did or did not journey the stairs this morning, but i stayed here even when the stars flashed silver to gold. i will not die, now. i will not go. i will stay here with you. i will grow old. i am sorry, victor, man who i never knew (and never will because i will not go where he is). i will grow old. i will stay here with you, mother.